I have been the victim of so many gross injustices in my life—first as a battered wife throughout my marriage, and now, without any warning, as the surprised ex-wife in a church annulment!
I have scanned for you as evidence the notification to me of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal to amuse you with the hard-to-understand language they used and the accusations this august body has hurled at me.
Everything they said was in favor of my husband. It’s so laughable you wouldn’t think the document was written by a fair and religious body! For an opening salvo, they described my husband as “surely a good-looking guy,” while I was just described as “petite but looked quite ordinary.” To say I was shocked to receive this document annulling my marriage is being mild—not so much that it happened, but that it’s been already settled, cooked and declared finished without any warning to me.
I received a notice for my appearance from this tribunal around September 2011. But after consultations with my then parish priest, now a monsignor, he advised me to “disregard it” because he assured me that without hearing my side, the tribunal cannot move or do anything about it. How wrong he was! Six months later, in March 2012, I received this Ecclesiastical Notification that my marriage had already been annulled!
Does it really take such a very short six months to go through a church annulment? What happened to consultations between parties involved and settling differences amicably? If they didn’t want to talk to me, why didn’t they call my adult children instead? They, too, were horribly beaten by their father.
How can these religious lawyers do their work justifiably without hearing my side at all? Weren’t they even interested to know how this man whom they portrayed as a loving, patient, obedient person, battered me—while describing me a domineering, self-centered, pathetic liar, who forced him to have sex with me so I could become pregnant before we got married—without hearing or seeing me? Did they even research or read the numerous police reports on how violent he was to me and the children all these years?
For simple, innocent acts like not putting water on the table fast enough, or not agreeing with what he says about other people, I’d be slapped across the face, or punched left-right-left in many parts of my body, or hit many times on the head with his .45 pistol, or thrown bodily across the room. The last, most vicious of his acts landed me in a hospital to undergo maxillo-facial surgery, where the surgeon aligned my broken cheek bones to their natural elevation and fixed screws on my fractured nasal bones and upper teeth. My whole face was lifted to expose my facial bones in this procedure and make me look normal again.
I have been begging my husband for a legal separation all these years. Those pleas were only met by more violent physical poundings. But that he went behind my back and had our marriage annulled without sweat only means he is really one of the “chosen few.” I guess he had strong connections in this “God’s” house to speed up the process.
I thought only the police in our town would be intimated by my husband’s politically powerful family. I didn’t realize that even the representatives of Jesus Christ in our province would fear him, as well. In the annulment notification, the judgment gives my husband the freedom to marry again, but not for me—as they declared, it “strongly appends a Restrictive Clause in conjunction with another Christian marriage.”
He now has a live-in lover. And she wants marriage. Doesn’t an annulment make him single again and free to dispose of his money to whomever he wishes?
Though I commiserate with you, I wish you didn’t have to send me the notification of your annulment or the photograph of your face during your maxillo-facial surgery.
I’ve only seen such photos in movies, made by special effects artists, and couldn’t connect them to reality. Your gory image was too brutal. And the legal jargon in your documents did not only give me a headache, but was too much gobbledygook for my little mind to comprehend. I couldn’t delete them fast enough to stop me from cringing.
As to your beef with the annulment tribunal, go to their hallowed offices with this priest, now monsignor, who could testify and argue for you. He was there from the start and must have witnessed all the violence inflicted on you by your husband. He must have some credibility or church stature he could arm himself with to face these church lawyers. And don’t forget to bring copies of the police reports of your husband’s violence! Stand up for your rights, no matter if your case is a done deal.
It boggles an ordinary mind how these religious people can be so unjust and unfair, judging from the words they used against you in the document. I am no lawyer, but it doesn’t take a genius to read their lopsided judgment!
When ordinary people cannot depend on the leaders of the church they worship in to give them the support they need against brutality, where else can they turn? Who else can the run to?
King Arthur of the Round Table advocated the “might for right” moral code for Camelot. He definitely wasn’t on the same page with the men running this church tribunal. Sad!